HYDERABAD: In the heart of the Secunderabad Cantonment, there remain parcels of land that are rented out for a price as low as Rs 6 for 200 yards. Leased out for the civilians under the British rule, these lands were occupied by domestic helpers at the time. Out of the 65 such parcels of land identified in Bollarum bazar, Risala bazar, Karkhana, the Cantonment board found at least 14 to be illegally occupied.
Wake up call. The Board, known for its laid-back attitude after it reportedly failed to auction the British-era shops on its premises, sprung to action following a notice issued by the Ministry of Defence. The notice sought the extension of lease to British-era lands under the Cantonment till December 31, 2019. The lease amounts, both commercial and residential, were a source of revenue for the Cantonment in the past. But over the last decade, the Board has become short of cash since the rates were never revised as per avant-garde market rates.
According to Ramswroop Haritwal, joint CEO of SCB, out of the 65 identified land parcels, 16 have been given a lease extension of one year. However, these lessees will have to pay a nominal amount that was fixed at least six decades ago. “The remaining 49 lessors have not responded regarding renewal of the lease. Notices will be served to all leaseholders to submit evidence on ownership documents,” said Haritwal.
Weeding out encroachments. “We have identified that 10 to 15 persons have illegally encroached on the lease lands and they have been served notices to vacate immediately. These lands come under the B-3 category which belongs to civilian areas and we have records of the lease premises from the decades”, said Haritwal.
Hoping for a hike. The board, according to him, has decided to increase the lease amount for these lands and the proposals have been submitted to the Pune Directorate General Defence Estates (PDGDE) headquarters and Ministry of Defence (MoD).